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Given a piece of wood, how does putting it in the sun or not influence the rate of decay due to rot (assuming that it's in an otherwise humid environment)?

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its not going to degrade the lignin in the wood directly that's for sure! –  shigeta Jan 3 at 22:12
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migrated from chemistry.stackexchange.com Nov 3 '13 at 20:28

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Ultraviolet light is microbicidal. See this post. As I answered in this previous post, micro-organisms are essential for rotting. Since UV kills these microbes it will reduce the rate of rotting. The heat from sun will also dry the wood and further decelerate rotting.

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